Saturday, January 6

Corruption in Israel

We are now in the post Zionist era of Israel’s development. There are those people who view the post Zionist period in Israel’s development as the period when Zionism has ceased to be relevant. In a previous article I compared corruption in Israel with that of South Africa. That article was written before the news of the Income Tax corruption scandal in Israel made headlines. The conclusion that one reaches is that the rot has set into Israel’s corridors of power and influence. This rot filters down from the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, “run of the mill” party political hacks, who are Knesset Members, and directors of government departments. The rot filters down like a cancer and even crosses religious barriers. Establishment Judaism and its political ramifications in corruption are not immune. The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi enjoys good hotels free while the Sephardic Chief Rabbi does not know what his wayward son is doing when it comes to assaulting a non-approved boyfriend of his daughter.

Eyebrows are raised at the mention of the term “post-Zionism”. Why are these phenomena occurring in Israel whose establishment was so noble? A disease runs in Israel, crossing political lines at a rapid rate. This disease is the “cartel syndrome” (known as “combinot” in Hebrew). Israel society is divided into two main groups:

  1. The Cartels (combinot) – these are groups of people, usually politicians and their business friends who seek political influence in high places for profit. They form strong connections and use public money for their own financial advancement at the tax payers’ expense. Their motto is “This is due to me!” (Hebrew – Magiah li!)

  2. The Suckers (Hebrew “friarim”) – these are the unfortunate citizens of Israel, especially those who are deprived economically. They pay the price for governmental corruption of all shapes and sizes. They pay the taxes and the Tax Authority directors and their shady ilk ensure that their pockets are not empty. The sucker never dies; he is always replaced at the click of the “judicial” finger!

The cases of corruption in Israel are increasing at an alarming rate! Israeli society has become more materialistic and less caring. The cartel is the result of people forming groups in order to keep to the old maxim: “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours!” They regard themselves as being immune from the law. All these attitudes are the result of a flawed educational system that has failed to educate the young. Results are seen in the general behaviour of people in public places including the formation of “cartels” for jumping queues. Vehicle driving patterns on the roads are part of the same syndrome of loutish behaviour and lack of consideration that is so rampant in Israeli society! Fatal accidents cause death and taken a step further it will destroy Israel! The Palestinians are not a danger to Israel’s existence – nor is Iran. The danger to Israel’s existence is “the corrupt cartels”! They undermine Israeli society and values from within. They will hasten the conversion of Israel into a bi-national state as Jewish values are rapidly becoming history. This is post-Zionism!

Even some members of the Police Force are not immune from the “cartel”. Appointments are made on a political basis rather than on the person’s talent for the job in many government departments. The Income Tax Authority Chief , Jackie Matza, is now under arrest for suspected bribery and corruption and authorizing tax rebates for members of the powerful cartels in the corridors of power. If the Income Tax Authority is corrupt, then the future for legitimate state revenues from law abiding Israelis is in question. Israelis are amongst the highest taxed citizens in the world! The return for their taxes is poor. Could this be due to the “Cartel Syndrome”?

This is all indicative of the beginning of the post-Zionist era in Israel. Blatant materialism and the desire to form cartels in order to get rich quickly has now become the way of life in modern Israel. This method of personal enrichment at the tax payers’ expense brings a message loud and clear to the tax payer. Why pay taxes if the money goes to members of cartels in their motivation of enriching themselves financially?

This spells danger for the survival of Israel as a Jewish state. It might as well become a bi-national state. Jewish values are disintegrating, being replaced by fundamental materialism. This is not the society for which to strive. Its values are disintegrating and this will result in the destruction of democracy.

Under these circumstances it may be a good idea to ponder the idea of a bi-national state representing all of its citizens – Arab as well as Jewish. A corrupt Israel will never be able to deliver the peace that we need. This has nothing to do with corruption in the Palestinian Authority. If the leaders of Israel are unable to contain corruption and are even part of the system that promulgates this evil by default, then something is rotten in its leadership! Perhaps a bi-national, democratic, secular state with built in mechanisms that minimizes nepotism and corruption is the answer to Israel’s existence. Corruption in Israel will eventually result in Israel joining the unenviable club of third world banana republics.

Perhaps the only optimistic aspect of this scenario is that the rot has surfaced due to the public media in Israel which remains free. The rule of law is still evident as illustrated by intense police investigation into the Income Tax Authority scandal.

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